Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers’ offense exploded for four first half touchdowns, and the team held on late to defeat the Detroit Lions 34-27 at Lambeau Field.
After hearing criticism all week about the offensive issues from last week’s loss to the Vikings, the offense came out firing to the tune of 31 first half points. The Packers scored on five of its six possessions in the half, with the only non-scoring drive coming as the half ended.
The Packers, at least for now, were able to silence the critics thanks to a balanced offensive performance. Rodgers threw for 205 yards and four touchdowns on just 15 completions, and posted a quarterback rating of 129.3, his highest since Week 3 of last year.
Green Bay finally got Eddie Lacy more involved, which should remain a part of the game plan moving forward. He rushed 17 times for 103 yards, averaging 6.1 yards per carry and thriving when running up the middle.
After such a dominant first half, the Packers’ opportunities were limited in the second half. Green Bay scored a field goal on its first drive of the third, but only got the ball three more times in the game. Right when the Packers’ offense started to slow down, the Lions’ began to heat up.
Matthew Stafford, who finished the day with 385 yards and three touchdowns, picked apart the secondary with his new top target Marvin Jones. Jones scored a pair of touchdowns and racked up an astounding 205 yards on just six catches. He was on the receiving end of a 73-yard score right before the first half, setting the tone for a rough second half from the injury-riddled Green Bay defense.
The Lions opened the third quarter with a 12-play drive that resulted in another score, this time a reception by Anquan Boldin. The Packers scored a field goal on the following drive, but punted on the next two. In that time, Stafford and Detroit’s offense were able to cut the deficit to just seven points.
When the Green Bay offense really needed to get going, they were able to put the game away. Rodgers orchestrated an 8-play drive and converted a key third down to run out the final 3:34 of the game. The final score was closer than expected after such a strong start, but the offense still put together a huge game to lead the Packers to a 2-1 record.
For the second straight week, Green Bay’s pass defense struggled mightily. Dom Capers’ unit was already without five key players—Clay Matthews, Morgan Burnett, Datone Jones, Letroy Guion, and Sam Shields—and it was evident in the game. Damarious Randall, who did have an interception, was picked on throughout the game again, and the young secondary could not stop Jones or tight end Eric Ebron in the middle of the field.
But the Packers got three timely sacks on Stafford, including two by Nick Perry who is finally playing the way Green Bay hoped. The run defense continued its excellent start to the season, limiting Detroit to just 50 yards on 23 carries.
A big positive was seeing Rodgers successfully spread the ball around in the passing game. Jordy Nelson led the way with 101 yards and two touchdowns on six catches, but eight different receivers made receptions on the day. Davante Adams and Richard Rodgers caught the other two touchdowns.
The Packers will now enjoy their early bye week which should give the missing defenders a chance to get healthy. Mike McCarthy and the coaching staff, at least in this game, were able to make the necessary adjustments from last week’s stagnant offensive performance, and will now have an extra week to continue tuning up the offense.
Green Bay’s next game comes in Week 5, with a primetime matchup against the Giants on tap. The team needs to be able to put together four quarters of solid play, but the victory over Detroit was definitely a big step in the right direction.——————
Sean Blashe is a Packers fan who grew up in Bears territory and is currently a journalism and history major at Marquette University. Sean is a writer with PackersTalk.com and you can follow him on twitter at @SeanBlashe .